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    Obama's new Medicare Czar supports wealth redistribution and opposes free markets

    07/09/2010
    On Wednesday, President Obama bypassed the Senate nomination process and appointed Harvard professor Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Although the Obama administration has asserted that the move was made to prevent a Republican plan to "stall the nomination” for as long as possible, Senate rules already prevent them from delaying the process.  Robert Pear of the New York Times writes:
    The recess appointment was somewhat unusual because the Senate is in recess for less than two weeks and senators were still waiting for Dr. Berwick to submit responses to some of their requests for information.
    Clearly there is another reason that the Obama White House has chosen to skip the traditional procedure.  Perhaps it wants to avoid the difficult questions that may arise in regards to statements made by Dr. Berwick.  During a 2008 speech on the British health care system, he asserted that wealthy individuals must redistribute their wealth to those less fortunate in order to help pay for health care costs:

    Any health care funding plan that is just equitable civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional.

    At that same speech, Berwick insisted that we move away from the free market system and leave more power in the hands of political leaders:

    Please don’t put your faith in market forces. It is a popular idea that Adam Smith’s invisible hand will do a better job at designing care than leaders with plans can do. I do not agree. I find little evidence anywhere that market forces bluntly used that is just consumer choice among a ray of products with competitors fighting it out, leads to the health care system you want and need.

    Dr. Berwick is also a proponent of single-payer health care and he seems to have no problem with the rationing of care:

    We can make a sensible social decision and say, "Well, at this point, to have access to a particular additional benefit [new drug or treatment] is so expensive that our taxpayers have better use for those funds."  The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.

    A number of Senators have stated concerns about these troubling statements.  But the Obama administration's decision to bypass the process through which the Senate advises and consents to nominees has prevented the American people from obtaining answers that ease such concerns.  In fact, Dr. Berwick will take over as head of the second largest insurer on earth without answering a single question before the American public.  Such questions are not just appropriate; they are needed.  Now, thanks to the politics of the Obama White House, they will go unanswered.  Redstate.com's Ben Domenech writes:

    Understand: Mr. Berwick’s position as head of CMS will give him unprecedented power to apply his views on health care policy under President Obama’s new health care regime. Yet thanks to the White House’s game playing, he will not answer one question, not one, before he is ensconced in a position where his radical policy views will ultimately effect the lives and health care of every American.

    The recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick is just one of the many examples of President Obama's willingness to force his vision of health care reform upon the American people-- even when they have made it clear that they vehemently oppose it.  Thankfully, the fight over America's health care future is far from over.  In fact, right now conservatives around the country are taking proactive steps toward dismantling the President's destructive health care agenda.